Modi steps in as CBI begins to probe its own leadership
As the Central Bureau of Investigation’s second-in-command Rakesh Asthana was embroiled in a bribery case, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval swung into damage control, asking CBI Director Alok Verma to ensure the government’s image was not tarnished.
Mr. Verma briefed the Prime Minister on Sunday evening about the bribery FIR filed by the agency against Mr. Asthana.
On Monday, the CBI arrested its Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar in the same case.
Official sources said Mr. Verma had recommended Mr. Asthana’s suspension.
According to top officials, the CBI Director also briefed Mr. Doval about the case. “He briefed the Prime Minister with all the details regarding the case and subsequently, the Prime Minister asked him to meet and brief the NSA also since the name of a senior officer of R&AW is also mentioned in the FIR,” a top official told.
Asked whether the Prime Minister or the NSA said anything during the meeting, the official said: “Both are concerned about the government’s image getting tarnished in the matter. The NSA asked the Director to lie low and ensure that the government’s image is not damaged in the process.” The official denied that the Prime Minister and the NSA “gave any instruction regarding the case.” Meanwhile, on Monday, Mr. Asthana reportedly sought an appointment with the Prime Minister, but no time was given to him.
However, he reportedly visited the PMO and met some officials, but it could not be confirmed whom he met.